Orinj version 4.0.0
The following is a tutorial for those not familiar with Orinj and need a quick "getting started" guide with example steps for recording a simple song. If you have already used Orinj or if you have worked with similar software applications, you do not need to read this.
This tutorial will help you record a demo of a blues song. You will play the guitar and sing the vocals. You will use the functionality of Orinj to create simple drum and bass tracks assuming that you have no drums and bass and cannot record those directly. You will then record a guitar track.
In this tutorial, you will work with each of the views in Orinj. This tutorial assumes that you have already started Orinj.
Start using Orinj
When you start Orinj for the first time, set up some preferences. Most importantly, set up the directory that Orinj uses to store temporary files. Click on Preferences and then on Directories in the Orinj menu. Orinj creates temporary files, some of which may be large. It is a good idea to choose a directory on your largest drive or the one with most free space.
Build a drum loop
You will begin by building a simple drum loop. This loop will ultimately be used to create your drum track. It is useful to create the drum track first. It will serve as your metronome or "click track" and will help you play on time when recording.
To build a drum loop:
- Switch to the Orinj loop building view. Click on the loop building view button () in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- Open the file "blues simple 01.klp". Click on File and then on Open in the menu at the top of Orinj. In the Open dialog that pops up, browse to the "loops" directory in your installation. If, for example, you installed Orinj in "c:\Program Files", the "loops" directory will be "c:\Program Files\orange\loops". If this is the first time you are opening a loop file, the Open dialog should default to that directory and you should not need to browse anywhere. Double-click on the "blues simple 01.klp" file to open it. The file will be opened and you should see hits added to the first few tracks of the loop building view. (Tip: Files with the extension "klp" contain information that Orinj uses to play loops. You have a few of those files provided to you with the installation of Orinj.)
- Select an output device (sound card) that will play the file. Click on Loop and then on Output Device in the Orinj menu. You will see the Output Device dialog, which will list all available sound devices. Select a sound device and click OK. (Tip: The Primary Sound Driver in the list of your devices is the default device selected in your operating system).
- Play the file to see what it sounds like. Click on the Play Loop button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. When you are done listening to the playback, click on the Stop button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- Mix the loop into a wave file so that you can use it in your song. Click on Loop and then on Mix in the Orinj menu. You will get the Loop Mix Properties dialog shown in the picture below:
- Save the mixed wave file. Decide where your song files should be saved and click on File and then on Save As in the Orinj menu. In the Save dialog that pops up, browse to where you want to save the file, give it a name (for example, "basic drum.wav") and click Save.
In this dialog, leave the sampling rate at 44.1 KHz and the sampling resolution at 16-bit. These are the sampling rate and resolution that you will use in your session later. You want the loop wave file that you create to have the same sampling rate and resolution.
By default, you should also see the "Wrap remainder" option chosen. Leave that option as it is as well. This loop will be repeated over and over in your song and so you will want any sound that extends over the end of the beat to be wrapped around over its beginning. This way, the second loop will start with the end of the first loop and so on. This option is not very important for the specific loop that we are working with here, as this loop contains only kicks, snares, and hi hats, which are short. At some point you may end up using loops that contain open hi hats, crashes, rides, or toms, all of which have longer sounds and may actually extend over the end of the loop. If you have a 4 second loop for example, you may see a crash extend over 4 seconds and you will want this crash to continue sound over the beginning of the next loop, while you will still want to keep the wave file length to 4 seconds so you can properly loop it in your song.
Click OK in the Loop Mix Properties dialog. You should see a quick a progress bar after which Orinj will switch to its single wave view. The mixed wave file will be displayed in this view.
In this example, you used one of the default drum loops that was provided with the installation of Orinj. You can also create your own drum loops or modify the default drum loops to suit your needs. You can speed up or slow down the loop, add hits and instruments, or create fills rather than have the same drum beat throughout the whole song.
Start a new session and build a drum track
To start a new session and build a drum track:
- Switch to the Orinj multitrack view. Click on the multitrack session view button () in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- When you switch to the multitrack session view, you will already have a blank recording session. You will see empty tracks. Just to be sure, however, you can start a new session. Click on File and on New in the Orinj menu. You will see the Audio Format dialog, which will prompt you to select the audio format of your session. Use 44.1 KHz and 16-bit and click OK. The Audio Format dialog is shown here.
- Save your new session. Click on File and then on Save As in the Orinj menu. Browse to where you want to save your session (the same place where you saved your drum wave file), give it a name (for example, "my session.kal"), and click on Save.
- Insert the drum wave file into your session. First, choose a track (say, the first track). In the track control panel to the left of the track, type a name for your track. Type, for example, "drums". (Tip: The track control panel is shown in the picture below. Type "drums" in the place of "Track 1").
The track, in which you typed "drums", should now be selected. It will be lighter in color than the rest of the tracks.
- You must also choose where in that track to insert the file. The wave file will be inserted next to the play cursor (the vertical yellow line). Click on the rewind to start button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. This will move the play cursor to the very beginning of the tracks.
- Insert the drum wave file in your session. Click on Track and then on Insert From File in the Orinj menu. Browse to where you saved your drum wave file and double-click on that file (on "basic drum.wav"). The wave will be inserted in your session. The file will appear at the very beginning of the track labeled "drums".
- A single drum loop is not enough to cover the whole song or even a full measure. Repeat this drum through at least a full measure. Click on the wave in your session. The wave will become lighter in color, which means that it is now selected. Click on Block and then on Loop in the Orinj menu. In the Loop dialog, select how many times the wave should be looped (say, 15), and click OK. The drum loop will be repeated to create a complete drum track.
Tip: In 12-bar blues we may have 12 of these drum loops. You may also want to leave a couple of drum loops at the beginning of the song so that when you start recording you get used to the timing before actually playing. In this case, you will need more that 12 loops.
- To preserve your changes, save your session. Click on File and then on Save in the Orinj menu.
As before, all we have by now is a drum track created from a single existing drum loop. This drum track will obviously play the same thing throughout the whole track, which may be fine for demo purposes, but may get boring in your final song. You can change your drum loops and you can insert different drum loops in different places in the song.
Create a bass line
You can either record the bass or you can use the MIDI functionality of Orinj to create a bass line.
- Switch to the Orinj MIDI roll view. Click on the view MIDI roll button () in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- Open the file "bass blues A min var 1.mid". This file can be found in the "midi" directory of the installation of Orinj. If, for example, you installed Orinj in "C:\Program Files", the file will be in the directory "c:\Program Files\orange\midi". Click on File and then on Open in the Orinj menu. Browse to the "midi" directory, find the file "bass blues A min Var 1.mid" and double-click on it.
- Play the file to see what it sounds like. Click on the play button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. To stop playback, click on the stop button () in the same player toolbar or wait for the playback to reach the end of the file.
- You would need to convert this MIDI file to a wave file so that it can be used in your song. The only way to do that is to play the file and record it at the same time. First, choose the appropriate input and output sound devices. To choose an input device for recording, click on Sequencer, then on Record To Wave, and then on Input Device in the Orinj menu. Select the appropriate input device in the dialog that pops up and click OK.
In this version of Orinj, you cannot select a MIDI output device through Orinj, but you can do so through the operating system. Make sure that the default sound device for playing MIDI files in your operating system is the one that you want.
- Connect your output to your input device. Run a cable from the output to the input that you selected in the previous step. The input and output can come from the same device, as contemporary soundcards are usually designed to allow simultaneous playback and recording.
- Select the wave format of the wave to be recorded. Click on Sequencer, then on Record To Wave, and then on Wave Format in the Orinj menu. You will see the Audio Format dialog. You would want to record to a wave file with the same format as your session so the sampling rate of the wave file should be 44.1 KHZ and the bit resolution should be 16-bit. Click on OK in the dialog when you are done.
- Record the MIDI file into a wave file. Click on Sequencer, then on Record To Wave, and then on Record in the Orinj menu. The file will be played and recorded while playing. As your output is connected to an input, you will most likely not here anything. Wait until playback stops. The newly recorded wave file will be displayed in the Orinj single wave view.
- Save the newly recorded wave. In the Orinj single wave view, click on File and then on Save As in the Orinj menu. In the Save dialog that pops up, browse to the same directory, in which you saved your session and drum wave file, type a name for your new file, such as "bass.wav", and click on Save.
- You will now want to add the bass line to your song. First, switch to the Orinj multitrack view. Click on the view multitrack recorder button () in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- Choose a track. For example, type "bass" as the name of the second track. The second track should now be selected. It will be dark gray whereas other tracks will be black.
- You have to also choose where to insert the bass wave. You could insert the wave right at the beginning, but that means that, when you start recording other instruments, you will have no time to get used to the tempo of the song. A better thing to do would be to leave a few drum loops before the bass starts. Those drum loops will be a metronome that starts before the actual song and gives you an idea of the rhythm of the song before you start playing.
Click on the second track (the "bass" track) close to where the second drum loop ends and the third one begins. The play cursor (the yellow vertical line) will move to that place and this will assure that when you insert a wave it will start at that place. Orinj "snaps" the play cursor by default to the beginning or end of a wave and, if you click close enough, Orinj will be sure to set the play cursor exactly at the beginning or end of a wave.
Tip: Orinj should look something like the one in the following picture:
Tip: See Orinj Preferences to learn more about setting your snap options.
- You are now ready to insert the wave. Click on Track and then on Insert From File in the Orinj menu. In the Open dialog that pops up, you should already be in the directory where your bass wave was saved. Orinj remembers the place from where you opened your last wave (in this case, the drum loop, which is in the same folder). Find the wave called "bass.wav" and double-click on it. The wave will be inserted in your session.
- Save the changes to your session. Click on File and then on Save in the Orinj menu.
The newly inserted bass wave covers only one measure of your song. If you want this bass line to be repeated for more measures, you can loop it as you did with the drums in the previous section of this tutorial. Also, you can modify your bass line or create a new one. To learn more about using the MIDI roll view to create new MIDI files and to modify the existing ones, see Orinj Working with MIDI files and Orinj Working with MIDI notes and controls.
One of the known issues for Orinj is that MIDI playback and wave recording are not synchronized. This is due to deficiencies in the programming language used to develop Orinj. The wave recording may start earlier than the MIDI playback, making the recorded wave file longer than it needs to be. You can remedy that by doing one of two things. You can move the bass file in your song to properly fit it in the song or you can cut it to the right length. In both cases, you should probably zoom in sufficiently to ensure that you are precise. See Orinj Working with session blocks.
The drum loops and MIDI bass line in the Orinj installation were created so that they have the same tempo (1.5 sec per quarter note). If you are creating a drum loop or a MIDI file from scratch, you may have to adjust their tempos to ensure that tempos match.
MIDI files contain notes and other events that are sent to a device (your soundcard) that interprets them and creates sounds. Until these notes are interpreted, one cannot know exactly what they will sound like. In other words, the same MIDI file can sound differently on different soundcards.
Record your rhythm guitar and vocals
By this point of the tutorial, you should have a drum and a bass track. You will record a guitar and a vocal track. You should still be looking at the Orinj multitrack session. If you are not, click on the view multitrack session view button () in the view toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- Select a track for recording. Type "guitar" as the name of the third track in the track control panel to the left of the track. The track will become selected and will be lighter in color than the rest of the tracks. Then click on the record button () in the track control panel for the same track. This button will become pressed down, which means that this track is selected for recording. (Tip: You can select more than one track for recording, which is useful if you have more than one input devices or if you want to record the left and right channels separately.)
- Make sure that recording starts at the very beginning of the track. Click on the rewind to start button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. The play cursor (the vertical yellow line) will move to the start of your session.
- Select the proper output device for playback as you will want to listen to the drums and bass while playing the guitar. Above, you selected the output device for playing loops and the output device for playing MIDI files. Orinj treats these independently from the output device for your session, so check that the proper output for playing the session has been selected. Click on Session and then on Output Device in the Orinj menu. In the Output Device dialog that pops up, select a device and click OK.
- Select an input device for recording. The input device that a track records from is specific to that track, unlike the output device that you selected in the previous step, which was the same for all tracks in the session. Click on the input device button () in the track control panel to the left of the track. In the Input Device dialog that pops up, pick the input device that you want. Also, choose whether you want to record a stereo wave or a mono wave from the left or the right channel. Which one you should pick depends on your setup.
Often, you will plug in your electric guitar into an amplifier and will take the output of that amplifier into your soundcard. This means that you will only need to record one channel and you will have a mono wave. Even if you recorded a stereo wave, both channels will be the same or only one channel will actually pick up something. In another setup, you could mike your amplifier and you could use more than one mike. You could mike the amplifier closely and then put another mike to pick up the room ambiance. If you record those separately in the two channels of a stereo wave, you can then adjust the balance between the two. There are no set rules for recording anything and at the end of the day you should choose what sounds good. For the purposes of this tutorial, just assume that we only want a mono wave of the guitar and we will pick up the left channel only.
Click on Left, then check All Tracks, and click OK. You chose All Tracks so that the same change is made for all tracks and you will not have to do this step if you record in other tracks (unless, of course, your setup changes).
Tip: If you mike your amplifier make sure that your playback goes to your headphones and not to some speakers to avoid feedback. If you do wish to record two mikes for whatever purpose, it is probably better to send then to separate tracks as it will be easier to control them later, rather than recording one stereo track. If you do record one stereo track though, you can always split it later into two mono waves.
- Connect your equipment. How you do that depends on what equipment you have. When you record, you should be able to see the wave (with some delay) drawn on the screen, which will mean that you connected properly and the recorded signal is coming into Orinj. You should also see the VU meter for the track move to measure the incoming signal. At the end of the recording, you should be able to play the wave back and listen to it either by itself or with the drums and bass. If you get no signal coming in, you can always stop the recording, delete the recorded wave, check your equipment, and start over again (see the notes below).
The VU meter looks as in the picture below:
There is one for each track in the multitrack session view.
- Start recording. Click on the record button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. Orinj will start simultaneous playback and recording.
- When you are finished recording, stop playback and recording by clicking on the stop button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj.
- Unclick the record button () in the track control panel to the left of the track, in which you recorded. When you do so, the recorded track will become orange from red. You should unclick this button when you are done recording so that you do not accidentally start recording in this track later.
- You should now be able to play the result of your recording. Click on the play button () in the player toolbar at the bottom of Orinj. When you are done listening to your recording, click on the stop button () in the same player toolbar.
- Save your session. Click on File and on Save in the Orinj menu. This saves your session. The actual wave that you just recorded is already on your hard drive as Orinj records directly to the hard drive. You do not need to do anything else to save that file.
Suppose that you make a mistake during recording and you want to delete the recorded wave from your song. Click on the recorded wave to select it. When the wave is selected, it will become lighter in color. Then click on Session and then on Cut or on Destroy in the Orinj menu. In both cases, the wave will be removed from your song. If you click on Cut, the actual wave file will remain in the directory where your session was saved (even though it will not be used in the song). If you click on Destroy, this wave file will be deleted.
If you want to play only the recorded wave without the bass and the drums, you have to first solo it. Click on the solo button () in the track control panel to the left of the track. If you want to remove the soloing, click on this button again.
Vocals can be recorded in the same way. Repeat the steps above on another track and you can record your vocals and any other instruments. If, at some point, you record an actual bass rather than the MIDI bass, you can mute the MIDI bass by clicking on the mute button () in the track control panel to the left of the MIDI bass track.
Mix your song
Before you mix the song, you may want to adjust volumes and pan, add effects and otherwise change the mix.
In the multitrack session view, you can mix your song by clicking on Session and then on Mix To File in the Orinj menu. After mixing your song, Orinj will switch to the single wave view, where your mix will be displayed. There, you can save your mix, add effects to it, or otherwise change it.